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Brass Tacks and Kashmir: India-Pakistan Military Crises in the 1980s

A crisis between India and Pakistan erupted between November 1986 and March 1987 after India launched the largest-ever military exercise in the subcontinent, called Operation Brass Tacks. The exercise took place in the desert area of Rajasthan, a few hundred miles from the Pakistani border, and included nine infantry, three mechanized, three armored and one […]

Trouble in the Mountains: The Sino-Indian War, 1962

When two powerful countries cannot agree on the location of their shared borders, there is trouble. Such was the case with China and India in October 1962. China and India had long disputed ownership of the Aksai Chin, a mountain pass that connects Tibet to China’s Xinjiang province on the western side.  On the eastern […]

Diplomacy Despite It All – Kissinger’s India Fix

Secretary of State Henry Kissinger visited India October 28, 1974 to discuss its nonalignment policy, which aimed at preserving India’s post-colonial freedom through refusal to join any coalition, including the U.S. or Soviet blocs. Relations between New Delhi and Washington were anything but cordial at this time. The 1971 refusal of Nixon and Kissinger to […]

The NPT and the Aftermath of India’s Nuclear Test — May 1974

Operation Smiling Buddha was the assigned code name for India’s first nuclear weapons explosion on May 18th, 1974. India declared that this test was simply a “peaceful nuclear explosion” or PNE, yet it was later discovered that this was actually a part of a nuclear weapons program. The sharp backlash by the international community  stemmed […]

“Dining is the Soul of Diplomacy”

Lord Palmerston, a former British prime minister and three time foreign minister, once famously noted, “Dining is the soul of diplomacy.” Countless diplomatic discussions have occurred over good food and drink, centered at well-dressed dining tables in embassies and diplomatic residences. Food brings people together, and the dining table makes for an excellent setting to […]

The Last Ones Left: Inside the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971

With a simple “good luck” from President Richard Nixon, Ambassador Joseph Farland set out to Pakistan, unsure of what to expect. Having previously worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) during World War II, Ambassador Farland was always cautious of those around him. Thus, when he entered this post, he had been preparing for […]

The U.S. Response to the 2004 Tsunami in Indonesia

The Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami of 2004 killed over 275,000 people in 14 different countries. In Aceh, Indonesia alone, over 130,000 people perished. The tsunami left in its wake ruined infrastructure, dislocated families, and other political, economic, and social challenges. In response to the tsunami and it ruinous effects, the international community together donated […]

The Question of Puerto Rico: The U.S. Faces International Criticism in the Late 20th Century

As decolonization was embraced on the world stage, the U.S. government and its diplomats had to decide, “How do we deal with the question of Puerto Rico?” The island had been an “organized but unincorporated” American territory since the United States defeated Spain in the Spanish-American War. After negotiations between Puerto Rican political leaders and […]